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Complaint Against Hygiene Ad Campaign Rejected

05 April 2013

UK - The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint against a food hygiene advertising campaign by the UK's Food Standards Agency.

The campaign was aimed at getting consumers to check hygiene standards before choosing where to eat out.

EBLEX, the beef and lamb levy payers organisation in England, the National Sheep Association and one other unnamed complainant contacted the ASA claiming that the FSA’s campaign associated lamb with poor food hygiene and was misleading.

The ad, which uses an image of a lamb dish in a urinal, carries copy which reads: 'Where are you really eating out?'.

In its ruling, the ASA said it was unlikely the advertisement would mislead consumers about the safety of eating lamb and doubted they would see it as a comment about the meat used, rather than the hygiene issues highlighted.

The ASA added that the advertisement focused on the standards of hygiene of ‘where’ consumers would be eating, rather than what they would be eating and noted that the image of the lamb cutlets was ‘incidental’ and used to show high quality food in an environment usually associated with poor hygiene. As a result, they concluded that there were no grounds for further action.

Stephen Humphreys, Director of Communications at the Agency, said: "We are pleased that the ASA rejected this complaint. The campaign was designed to challenge assumptions that an establishment’s appearance alone is the best way to judge standards of hygiene.

"We were simply reminding consumers to check hygiene standards when eating out. We always trusted the intelligence of consumers to realise we were making a point about the food establishments, not the food itself."

The ad campaign, which ran from the 11 February 2013 and ended last month, was part of the FSA’s strategy to promote the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme (FHRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS) in Scotland.

The schemes are run by local authorities, in partnership with the FSA. They aim to help consumers choose places to eat out or shop for food and help reduce the one million cases of food poisoning suffered by people each year.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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